Starting to Paint

On this, my first day of vacation in ages, I am up at 4am reading the info on the Soul Food classes.   Mystele’s sharing about painting after depression reminded me of my story of how I began painting again 20 years ago.

15021I wanted to paint, wanted to be an artist as a kid.  BUT, I came from a family with a deadbeat dad and a mom who raised four kids by herself.  My mom encouraged me to be self-sufficient — which was a good thing — and I had good role models in my Aunt Elsa and Aunt Martha.

web market food court

But the phrase “starving artist” was not encouraging anyone in my family, and art was a hobby, not a living.  Off to college I went to become the next best thing, an architect.  This was when architects actually drew with Kooh-i-noor Rapiograph Pens on vellum and bumwad, and the connection between their creativity flowed from their minds through their fingers to the paper they sketched on endlessly.  When I graduated I worked in the corporate world, for the studios in lalaland and banks and lawyers and got bored pretty fast.  I wanted to quit, but I liked to draw.

Fast forward many years and many stories later, I was writing and living in Oregon, married, and not practicing architecture.  And I was pregnant with twins, hoping to have a family.  I miscarried.  Then a nightmare began whereby I discovered that having children was not going to be possible unless I wanted to lay on my back for many months.  Neva-gonna-happen.


A wonderful and most beloved teacher, Brugh Joy, told me that I needed to find something to surrender to; that children brought parents to their knees in surrender, uncontrollable!  Brooke Medicine Eagle, a friend, told me to wait and be patient for a new birth. . .

I sank into depression; I guess that is a kind of waiting!  This was Depression with a capital D.  I could sit for hours not moving, and not noticing that I had sat for hours.  I was unable to get it together to do the most mundane of things.  And that, too, is a story for another time.  But here is the miracle.  Just when I was ready to end it all, quietly being the most productive I had been in months planning my get-out-of-dodge move, and coincidentally close to nine months after my miscarriage, I began to make art.

At first my art was safe and linear, pen and pencil, very architectural, and planned ahead of time.  It was all so precious.  And I was afraid to make a wrong move.  But I kept making my safe, linear, planned art, being unsatisfied with its perfection.  I went into silence at the new moon.  The goddesses came, and I saw them everywhere.  I loosened up, not a lot, but any little bit helped.  I picked up a palette knife.  I painted, and played James Taylor and Springsteen and Beach Boys and Vivaldi.   I sang and danced while I painted.  And then one day the Madonna I envisioned in the clearcut woods near our home danced off the canvas to dance with me and I knew I had made it, shifted into the person I wanted to be.

web madonna 3627

My art has continued to evolve, loosen, and layer.  Now sharing with the artists through Soul Food will push my boundaries a bit more!

There are more stories here, lots more. . .  but now I am going to paint!


My images/blog posts can be reposted as long there is a link back to zenkatwrites.


About dkatiepowellart

hollywood baby turned beach gurl turned steel&glass city gurl turned cowgurl turned herb gurl turned green city gurl. . . artist writer photographer. . . cat lover but misses our big dogs, gone to heaven. . . buddhist and interested in the study of spiritual traditions. . . foodie, organic, lover of all things mik, partner in conservation business mpfconservation, consummate blogger, making a dream happen, insomniac who is either reading buddhist teachings or not-so-bloody mysteries or autobio journal thangs early in the morning when i can't sleep
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